Fixing iPhone 4 “No-Sim Installed” Problem


We recently bought several iPhones 4 for our company employees in order to show how much we value them (this is true, guys!).

However, after using the new phones for a while we encountered a problem that some of them could not see the sim-card installed in them. The thing is that the SIM cards used by the new iPhones are smaller than those used in previous models. The new format is called “micro-sim” and the SIM cards seem to be at least one third smaller than the normal sims. Micro-sims look like this:

Picture by Gizmodo (Source)

Unfortunately, to our great disappointment, at least two of the 5 iPhones we bought encountered the following problem:

We tried searching on the Internet for a solution but couldn’t find one and decided to dig into the problem ourselves (I`m sure our technicians were quite happy to do something not related to servers…).

What we discovered was what seemed to be a design problem of the mechanism ejecting the sim card tray in the new iPhones.

On the following picture you can see that when you insert a needle or a paper-clip into the tiny hole on the right, the sim card tray pops-out due to the pressure coming from the top part of the mechanism.

The problem is that the top part of the mechanism seems to have a design flaw and sometimes it touches the metal contacts on the sim card making a short circuit. As a result, the phone stops recognizing the sim.

When we found what the problem was we knew how to solve it. So here is the solution.

1.First, take some thick double sided adhesive tape and cut a small piece of it.

2. Second, stick that small piece of tape to the side of the sim tray as shown on the picture below.

3. Not put the sim card into tray and insert the tray back into the phone. Now the tape will prevent the top part of the ejecting mechanism from making a short circuit with the sim card.

So far we have been using our iPhones without a problem but it would be better if Apple recongized the problem and improved the design of the tray mechanism.

Please also note – we take no responsibilty for broken iphones whatsoever. Good luck!

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P.S. One of our readers suggested another way of overcoming the problem. His solution is to put some tape on top of the SIM card as shown on the picture below. This should also prevent the short circuits but we have not tested this solution yet.

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P.P.S. We still have some “special deal” servers for $20 in stock. If you are interested, do check them out!

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50 Comments

  1. I just wanted to say, that I tried this fix, and so far it seems to be working great! I was getting the “no sim installed” error at least once a day, and airplane mode and powering off & on were only temporary solutions.

    So far, I have gone over a week without any issues. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for posting this!

  2. Tried the solution for the clear tape over the sim card for the “no sim” problem has been working great for over a week now, hopefully this has fixed this annoying problem. Thanks for posting this fix guys

  3. I started getting this issue since when I removed the sim card from the phone. Thanks to clear tape idea which works perfectly. I just put a small piece of clear tape to cover the projected notch

  4. Thanks for the posting this. I also put a piece of clear tape over the projected notch and it immediately got a signal – albeit only 1 bar, but a signal nonetheless. Wonder if we need to worry about the tape melting???

  5. Thanks- fixed the issue. Why can’t Apple be open about this and give this advice. Guess they can’t afford to release a micro sim tray mod ?
    Great gadget …. But shame they didn’t get muffles resolved before release.

  6. The clear tape trick definitely doesn’t work. I’ve tried it several times with no success.

    The double-sided tape trick works like a charm though. Knocks-on-wood.

    Thank you Wooservers!

  7. If you take out the sim tray and set the sim card in the tray, you can clearly see where tray is just about touching the sim contacts. If you slide the sim around, it actually does make contact with the tray. I put clear tape on the edge of the sim (even a little over the contact) and have had no troubles for over 2 weeks now. May sound crazy, nut my signal stays at 5 bars almost all of the time, where as before it had never! Hope this helps!!!!

  8. This happened to me with 3 different sim cards. I finally Did the double sided tape thing and it has been working for a few days now and no problems. Thanks for the info.

  9. Ok, i found the problem, the little piece of metal in the sim tray has to make contact with another small part inside the sim slot, use the sim extractor tool in order pull out gentle the small part inside the slot, this works like a charm and make sense.

  10. Wow! It works! Thank you so much. I got my iphone4 just 2 days ago and the morning of the 3rd day, the “no sim” popped up! I used clear tape and when I turned my phone on it had 1 bar, but after a few seconds I got 4! Thank God for the smart people who posted this. We owe you! 🙂

  11. i had the same problem when i bought i4 after some time

    i use the clear tap stick inside the sim trey and IT WORKS !!!!!!!!!!!
    THANKS FOR THE POST

  12. Hi Iam Amrit From Nepal,My Friend Send Me Iphone 4 (32GB) From Bahrain.I Just Got Iphone 4 Yesterday To My Home By DHL Courier,I Just Open My Iphone 4 Yesterday When I Open Iphone 4 There Is Something Write In Screen That –

    (NO SIM INSTALLED)
    Insert A Valid SIM With No PIN Lock To Activate Iphone

    I Don’t Know What To Do Now, So Guys Please Help Me To Open My Iphone 4

    Is My Iphone Is Locked ???

    If Yes Then How To Unlock Iphone 4 ?????

    Please Help Me Friends !!!!

    You Can Also Email Me At rana127@gmail.com

  13. Thanks for posting this solution. I didn’t have the appropriate tape around the house and the tape on top did not work for me. I was able to come up with an alternative that so far is working.

    What I ended up doing was applying a very tiny amount of Elmers glue to the square nub using the tip of a safety pin. I made sure to coat it on all sides and then let it dry. I have not had the issue now for 3 days.

  14. Two days ago, I placed tape on the top of the SIM card as shown. After getting the No SIM Card Installed message several times a day for the past week, I have now gone two days without that message. Thanks for an informative post and an elegant solution to what appears to be an Apple design problem.

  15. hi all, plz assist me if u can. i tried the above mentioned way however it doesnt work as well. however my tape is not double sided its just 1 sided adhesive tape. and i tried several times, without any effect. morever, i tried to cover other sim card borders and doesnt work again. sim card is ok, i checked it on another cell. please help me if u can. i’m fed up with this problem

  16. I tried thr clear tape idea ! Workin for me since 3 days ! Bt i wonder wont it be risky in long run ? Suggrstions guys …

  17. I bought the iphone 4 yesterday. The No Sim message came up when I checked this morning. The att store was busy not answering my call. I tried to reseat the sim card with no success. The tape on the edge of sim card fixed the problem now. Thanks. We need to report this to Apple.

  18. It didn’t have any tape available but I read where some added Elmer glue I didn’t have that either so I tired clear nail polish around the square object on the aim tray and it works haven’t had a problem in 5 days!!!! Thanks again for all the infor!!!

  19. Tried the clear tape method first and it did work at all. Then I tried the double sided tape technique and it works instantly. Turned the phone on and up popped one bar and 3 seconds laster I got the full compliment of bars. Thanks because the AT&T store where I bought the phone was saying I was going to need to go to Apple to fix and Apple was saying the phone was not covered. Hopefully this will solve the problem!

  20. I bought the iPhone 4 yesterday and started having this problem within 2 hours of my purchase. Also, the handset speaker sound bleary, like people and speaking with a bullhorn too close to their lips (remember the SNL skit where you can’t understand what the subway employees are saying over the loud speaker?), but that’s another story. What I can’t believe I how LONG this “shorting” issue has been going on with these iPhones and Apple doesn’t seem to have done anything about nor even acknowledged it. Im headed back to the apple store today. I’ll be curious to hear what they say.

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  22. I put a slip of tape across the back of the card instead, just to hold it in place, and is working so far. thanks!

  23. I used the tape method. Except, I ran tape down the side of the SimCard. There are scratch marks visible where contact is made between the Sim and Phone. Don’t cover the marks! Three are visible. Run the tape parallel to these marks. The short is happening where the gold from the sim card meets the silver of the tray. If one looks at the photos above, you can see the tape is in the wrong location.

  24. My iPhone 4 does this as well, up to 12 times a day, it is getting worse! I took my Sim out and the metal part is no where near the tray, there is a large border of plastic all the way around. Any other ideas?

  25. Thank You! Wow – I was about to pull my hair out and go yell at the Apple people… It took me a couple tries, but eventually I got the clear tape solution to work. (Didn’t have any double sided). Thanks 🙂

  26. Awesome, thanks for the solution! It works very well so far, though I used the super glue instead of the tape.

  27. I tried the double sided tape first but it was a no go. The clear tape seems to be the ticket. So far so good, thanks!

  28. Thank you!! Tried the clear tape didnt work, tried clear tape to cover the lip..that did it. Whew, thank you so much for posting!!

  29. Brand new phone, got the “no SIM” message from the get-go. But my SIM tray won’t even open. Sending it back tomorrow. Not dealing with defective phone.

  30. I got my phone unlocked and tried putting a t mobile sim inside bit kept getting the message no sim ! Searched everywhere for a solution and tried all but this was the only one that worked !!! Cheers !

  31. Good catch you guys. As I see it, it is the little metal “lever” inside the case that is mounted poorly such that it has too much play and can move up high enough to make contact with the sim. The clear tape suggestion seems to be the best bet. Just be sure to cut the piece thin enough so it doesn’t interfer with the phones contacts for the sim. I had to experiment with successively thinner pieces until I got it right. Just did the fix tonight, will see how long it lasts. Thanks again, probably saved me a frustrating trip to the ATT store.

  32. ******* NEW WAY TO SOLVE THIS ISSUE *******
    *******************************************

    Take the SIM card out, clean it with a wood pencil’s rubber, then put it back in.
    That should do it!

    *******************************************

  33. Well, after having read all of the comments, with a couple that really caught my eye, I got out my micrometer and took some measurements. The AT&T micro-sim card is just a bit thinner than the little sim card holder in which it rides. Okay, understandable (to an extent, but it shouldn’t be so far out of tolerance as to cause a problem like this.

    The sim card is there as an information holder – all we have to do is make sure the contacts are doing their job: making contact with the sim card. This can be accomplished one of two ways: 1) have a jeweler go in while looking through his “jeweler’s loupe” and have him bend the little contacts out slightly, or 2) place two very neatly trimmed pieces of Scotch tape on the sim card, on the opposite side from the contacts. I chose the latter, and it added just enough pressure from the back side to make sure the contacts are touching the sim card and completing the circuit.

    Also: gently clean the sim card contacts with a pencil erasure before you start with the tape. It never hurts to clean the contacts…

    Hope this helps!